SALT LAKE CITY — Despite coaching Arizona State from 2007-11, Utah co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson insists Saturday’s game at Rice-Eccles Stadium doesn’t hold any special meaning.
“No, really it doesn’t. To be honest with you, it’s us against them — University of Utah against Arizona State,” Erickson said. “I’m coaching the offensive side of the ball. It’s against their defense, an awfully good defense by the way — a lot of guys who have been there a long time that can run.”
Erickson added that the Sun Devils have a really good football team on both sides of the ball.
“Todd Graham has done a great job with them and you don’t do what they have done this year without being good,” he said. “So we’ve got to have a good plan and see what happens.”
Erickson also downplayed his recruitment of good players to ASU, noting that Graham is the one who has them going in the right direction.
“I’m not there any longer and as I said he’s done a great job there and they’ve got a good football team,” Erickson said. “So we’ve got our hands full. That’s what it’s all about.”
Erickson was the Pac-10 Coach of the Year for ASU in 2007.
AROUND THE PAC-12: Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said he wasn’t surprised by USC’s 31-14 win over Oregon State last week, noting that the Trojans are so talented.
“They say they only have 45 scholarship players. Well, there’s 45 four- and five-star players that you have access to,” Whittingham explained. “That’s a solid two-deep, and so, to me, they’re still the benchmark for the league as far as talent level. That was apparent in the game against Oregon State.”
The coach was also asked about Arizona State’s 55-21 victory at Washington State. Despite the final margin, he pointed out that the Cougars actually had some momentum in the game.
“But, you know, Arizona State is playing as well as anyone in the conference right now with the exception of Oregon,” Whittingham said.
EXTRA POINTS: Whittingham said the Utes have had two good days of practice this week, emphasizing that the guys have a good attitude. ... Utah defensive end/linebacker Trevor Reilly has been invited to play in the 2014 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Jan. 18 in Carson, Calif.. ... Reilly, cornerback Keith McGill and defensive tackle Tenny Palepoi are on the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl’s Big Board, a watch list of draft-eligible players. ... Fans are encouraged to wear red, white and blue to Saturday’s game as part of a “Salute America” promotion.
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